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​​ICBC cautions drivers to expect unpredictable road conditions this long weekend

October 9, 2014

On average, three people are killed and 520 people injured in 1,800 crashes in B.C. over the Thanksgiving long weekend.*

Road conditions can be unpredictable and vary widely across the province at this time of year. If you're visiting family or friends over Thanksgiving, snow, sleet, rain and fog are just some of the challenging fall conditions you could encounter when driving on B.C. roads.

From October 1 to March 31, drivers are required to use winter tires on many highways in B.C. Winter tires have been defined as those labelled with either the mountain/snowflake symbol or the mud and snow (M+S) designation. Winter tires must also be in good condition with a minimum tread depth of 3.5 mm.  Signs are posted on each of the designated highways to advise motorists where winter tires are required and the​se​ maps show which roads require winter tires.

Here are ICBC's key tips to help you stay safe on the road this weekend:

  • Prepare your vehicle. Make sure your vehicle's seasonally prepared — it's just as important as slowing down and observing the posted traffic or road advisories. Don't drive with badly worn or under-inflated tires. Keep the wiper fluid topped up for clearer visibility.

  • Know your route. Since weather is unpredictable, plan ahead to make your trip as safe as possible. Check roads and weather before your trip at or toll-free 1-800-550-4997.

  • Slow down. Posted speed limits are designed for ideal road conditions. Slow down when driving on snow, ice, slush or in rain or fog. Allow yourself at least twice the normal braking distance on wet or slippery roads and avoid driving through flooded or washed out roads.


"At this time of year, conditions on highways can change quickly—often for the worse," said Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. "If you're driving out of town this weekend, check for up-to-date information as the road and weather conditions where you live may be very different from where you're heading."

"No one wants a weekend traditionally about family spending time together to end in tragedy," said Suzanne Anton, Attorney General and Minister of Justice. "Match your driving speed to road conditions to ensure you get to your destination safely."

"As first responders, police see the serious consequences of crashes firsthand," said Chief Officer Neil Dubord, Chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee. "We will be on the lookout this weekend to make sure drivers are using appropriate care and caution and their vehicles are properly equipped."

"As a father of two, I know how hectic it can be when heading out of town to visit friends and family over the Thanksgiving weekend," said John Dickinson, ICBC's director of road safety. "At an already busy time of year, ensure you're well-rested when you begin your trip and allow ample driving time for variable road conditions."

Regional statistics:*

  • In the Lower Mainland, 370 people are injured in 1,100 crashes over the Thanksgiving weekend.

  • In the Southern Interior, 58 people are injured in 260 crashes over the Thanksgiving weekend.

  • On Vancouver Island, 66 people are injured in 250 crashes over the Thanksgiving weekend.

  • In the North Central region, 18 people are injured in 130 crashes over the Thanksgiving weekend.

*Crash and injury counts based on ICBC data (2009 to 2013); fatalities based on police data (2009 to 2013). Thanksgiving long weekend is calculated from 6 p.m. the Friday prior to the holiday to midnight Monday.

Media contact
Leslie Dickson